Miami, FL — Members of SEIU Florida, which represents more than 55,000 active and retired healthcare professionals, public employees and property service workers in the state, have endorsed Andrew Gillum for governor and announced a $5 million statewide effort to support candidates that best serve working families. Gillum will be speaking to thousands of Service Employees International Union (SEIU) members across the country on Saturday during a teleconference as they prepare to kick off nationwide “Super Saturday” volunteer activities where union members will be knocking on doors and making phone calls to voters.
In their endorsement, SEIU Florida emphasized Gillum’s record as mayor of Tallahassee and his life-long commitment to the basic freedoms every Florida family needs: workers’ rights, a secure job with good wages, quality, affordable health care and affordable housing.
“Andrew Gillum is going to bring working-class values back to the governor’s office so that all Floridians have the freedom to pursue their dreams and support their families,” said SEIU Florida President Monica Russo. “Andrew has been fighting his entire life to ensure that every Floridian can earn a good wage, have a safe roof over their head and access quality, affordable health care to give working people the freedom they deserve.”
Hundreds of SEIU Florida members have pledged to canvass neighborhoods on “Super Saturday” each week, as well as work phone banks and participate in dozens of other actions between now and November.
In addition to these thousands of volunteer hours, SEIU is spending approximately $5 million in advertising, communications and get-out-the-vote efforts in Florida to support candidates dedicated to lifting up the middle class. SEIU has already invested $2.7 million annually over the last three years to build a base of leaders and activists in communities across the state to elect leaders who stand with working people.
Among those issues, a living wage of at least $15 per hour for all workers, including nursing home employees who care for our seniors but can’t afford health care for themselves; protection of Medicare and expansion of Medicaid; and support for the right of adjunct faculty, airport workers and others to join a union.
"Orlando airport workers are rising up and refusing to accept the status quo that keeps us stuck in poverty. We will be voting in November for Andrew Gillum and other candidates who support workers in our fight for $15 and a union,” said Dirrelyz Martinez, a wheelchair attendant at Orlando International Airport who earns poverty wages of just $5.23 an hour. "Many of my co-workers have deep ties to Puerto Rico and we’re happy we have the chance to vote for candidates like Andrew Gillum who understand that the best way to help Puerto Rican families who were forced to flee to Central Florida is to ensure that all working people have a right to form a union and earn a living wage.”
Union members and leaders point to decades of neglect from politicians who have enriched themselves and their powerful donors, while denying freedom to Florida’s working families, many who are struggling to survive.
“Having to work two full-time jobs to barely feed your children or pay your rent is not freedom. Living in fear of getting sick because you can’t afford a doctor is not freedom. Having no voice in the workplace because you could get fired on a whim is not freedom,” Russo said. “Instead, we’re uniting for the freedom Florida families need to achieve better, more secure lives.”
For more information on SEIU Florida, visit www.seiufl.org.
SEIU Florida represents over 55,000 active and retired healthcare professionals, public employees and property service workers in the state of Florida. SEIU members provide vital public services in Florida’s hospitals, nursing homes, public schools, community colleges, municipal and county governments, malls, and universities. With over 2.1 million members, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) is the fastest-growing union in North America.